ReplayAR is another example of how immersive tech could transform the entire world into a virtual experience. The startup sees itself as “Instagram meets Pokémon GO,” which could be a winning combination given the popularity of those platforms. The idea behind the app is to make your visual memories location-based. Take a photo and return to the location next week, month, or year, and the image will be there.
This could get interesting and a little creepy, as Keith McCullough, ReplayAR CTO acknowledges,
ReplayAR is an open time capsule that’s all around us at all times . . . Personally what captured my imagination was the idea of being able to see projections of our daughter growing up in our house and having those moments frozen there for us to see whenever we wanted. It sounds a little like an episode of Black Mirror, but hopefully one with a happy ending!
The app is only available on iOS at the moment and very much in the experimental stage. While single-user, the goal is to have it become a global AR social network.
This is one reason why Apple and Google are both scrambling to own AR space. Facebook already has a somewhat parallel application with its innovative VR Memories. Announced at the F8 conference, it’s an experimental feature that places you in a scene from the past.
ReplayAR – Your Personal Time Machine
VRScout describes how the app works.
Here’s how it works: after opening the app and allowing access to your mic and camera, every photo you take will instantly be pinned to the exact location it was shot, at which point you can then walk around and view the floating 2D image from any angle in AR. By tapping on the photo, you can access additional information regarding its capture, such as the time and location in which it was taken. You can also record your AR experiences using in-app video capture.
There are lots of fascinating possibilities here for recording and preserving the world around us. CMO Brandon Martin sees a range of applications (pretty much everything).
The long-term applications for ReplayAR’s imaging tech and data collection are massive, ranging from historic preservation and architectural restoration to tourism, education, humanities, marketing, forensics, and even military intelligence.
The educational potential is fascinating. We’re already getting there in some ways with Google Street View which lets you roll back to an earlier version. In effect, Google is creating a time machine for our urban landscape. But ReplayAR would take this much further, potential capturing any point in our world as an augmented reality experience that will remain as time flows on.
But it will also have more immediate uses. If it takes off as a social app, you can see businesses using it as an innovative form of advertising. And no doubt, our current social and political debates will spill into it, with people strategically posting images to make a point.
If you’re thinking what we’re thinking this could get very messy in both fascinating and frightening ways. Despite the slow development of AR Glasses, augmented reality has far more potential than VR to transform our lived experience of the world.
If you’re interested, here’s the short video from ReplayAR with their vision of the future. And if you’re on iOS, download the app and take a look at what it can do.
ReplayAR says it’s the future of preserving the past. Let us know if you try it out.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.